Saint Patrick’s Church, Mission Street, San Francisco

Jeanie and I visited this venerable structure last Tuesday (October 4). 

Outside, the 170,000+ Dream Force conference attendees thronged the streets around the Moscone Center and the Yerba Buena Gardens:

But inside Saint Patrick’s, , a handful of worshippers prayed and crossed themselves, concerned with… other matters:

Visually, the most striking feature of this church is its position in the midst of huge commercial buildings:

But the above image only shows the latest of the church's many neighbors.

The first St. Patrick's in San Francisco was established in 1851, rebuilt and dedicated in 1871,  and then rebuilt again, after the earthquake, in 1914:

Tradition has it that St. Patrick's was first founded in the gold rush years as a place of communal gathering for the city's Irish population, at a time when immigrants from all over the world established their own enclaves in the city (Chinatown, Sidney Town,  etc.). Homage to Irish tradition in St. Patrick's can be seen in the stained glass representations of the patrons saints of the 32 counties in Ireland:


The Irish today are no longer the primary parishioners of St. Patrick's. Symbolic of the new congregation is the inclusion of a statue of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila, a revered Filipino saint:

As with the old Saint John’s German Lutheran church in San Francisco, the changing nature of the buildings can be seen in the new ethnography of the congregations: